Dollar turns lower as Trump conference vague on fiscal policy
Published: Jan 11, 2017 3:09 p.m. ET
The U.S. dollar reversed gains and weakened against major rivals Wednesday as investors appeared disappointed after Donald Trump didn’t address fiscal and tax policies during his first formal news conference as U.S. president-elect.
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The U.S. ICE Dollar Index DXY, -0.61% which tracks the currency against six rivals, was up as much as 0.8%, but fell 0.3% to 101.66, according to FactSet data. Meanwhile, the WSJ Dollar Index BUXX, -0.72% a measure of the U.S. unit against a broader basket of major currencies, was up 0.3% at 92.41.
The dollar rallied leading up to the press conference, but declined soon after.
“Investors were hoping for specific answers pertaining fiscal policies and tax reforms, but Trump did not address those. Instead it was more focused on bashing China and Mexico,” said Steven Englander, global head of G-10 currency strategy at Citi.
Against its Japanese counterpart, the dollar USDJPY, -1.23% weekend, changing hands at ¥115.32 late Wednesday in New York, down from ¥115.81 late Tuesday in New York.
“The dollar-yen pair has always been primarily about the yield differential. As [10-year Treasury] yields fell to one-month lows, the dollar weakened against the yen,” Englander said.
The yield differential between the 10-year U.S. and 10-year Japanese yields tightened to 2.3 percentage points on Jan 11, after hitting 2.5% in mid-December. When the spread widens, Japanese investors sell their yen to buy higher-yielding U.S. bonds, driving up the dollar.
The dollar weakened against the euro, with the single currency EURUSD, +0.6521% changing hands at $1.0584 late Wednesday in New York, up from $1.0553 late Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Mexican peso USDMXN, -0.4222% tumbled to a fresh all-time low on Wednesday immediately after President-elect Donald Trump said he hopes General Motors Co. GM, +1.61% will follow Ford Motor Co.’ F, -1.40% example and keep more jobs in the U.S. However, as the dollar pared gains, peso recovered to trade at 21.89.
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The greenback has piled on more than 5% in value over the past three months, fueled in large part on anticipation that Trump’s fiscal policies could spur further economic growth and stoke inflation. That also carries the risk that the U.S. Federal Reserve will decide to raise interest rates at a pace faster than investors currently expect.
Higher rates would boost the dollar by making U.S. assets more attractive to yield-seeking investors.
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“The situation remains unpredictable,” said Daisaku Ueno, chief foreign-exchange strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley.
In other currency trade, the pound GBPUSD, +0.4749% briefly hit a 10-week low at $1.2096, according to FactSet data, after U.K. data showed a widening of the country’s trade deficit to £4.2 billion ($5.096 billion) in November as imports outstripped exports. Separately, British industrial production rose strongly, by 2.1% in November compared with October.
Sterling later recovered and strengthened against the dollar, trading $1.2210 late Wednesday in New York, up slightly from $1.2165 late Tuesday.